News / Asia

Families Still Rebuilding 5 Years After Massive China Quake

Families Still Rebuilding 5 Years After Massive China Quakei
X
May 10, 2013 9:17 PM
Five years ago, China’s Wenchuan earthquake became one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters when it struck southern Sichuan province. The eight-point-zero quake killed nearly 90,000 people, toppled hundreds of thousands of buildings and permanently changed many families. VOA’s Bill Ide spoke with survivors in Sichuan to see how they have fared in the years since.
William Ide
Five years ago, China’s Wenchuan earthquake became one of the world’s most devastating natural disasters when it struck southern Sichuan province. The eight-point-zero quake killed nearly 90,000 people, toppled hundreds of thousands of buildings and permanently changed many families.
 
Ma Tang was just 12 years old when the Wenchuan earthquake robbed him of his father. He is 17 now, his mother has remarried and his young step-sister keeps him busy.


“After the earthquake my mom cried a lot and when she did, I would cry with her. At first, she didn’t want to remarry, but she also wanted to take good care of me. She was under a lot of pressure," he said. "So I was very happy when neighbors introduced her to possible partners. I liked my step-dad very much when I met him, he is very good to me and he is also very handsome."
 
Four years ago, VOA met Ma Tang’s step-father Yao Yunbing.  At the time, Yao was still struggling to cope with the loss of his wife and 17-year-old daughter. Both died during the quake.
 
Yao’s daughter was one of the thousands of students who died when their schools collapsed on them.
 
In late 2009, Yao and Ma Tang’s mother married.

“At first everything was very normal and simple. At times we would argue. He said that if we didn't have a child we should split up. He had been through a lot and he often got angry and cried. When I saw him cry I would cry as well, but then after the baby was born he was more at peace,” quake survivor Tang Dongmei recalled.
 
The massive loss of life from the quake was partly due to shoddy construction - particularly government-built schools. As the death toll rose, so did the public backlash against authorities.
 
Now, many here have taken out bank loans to supplement the reconstruction funds they received from the government, to ensure homes are stronger and safer.
 
But analysts said more needs to be done.
 
“I think that awareness of anti-seismic construction and disaster prevention is now what is most lacking," said Long Enshen, who is with Sichuan University’s Institute of Disaster Management and Reconstruction. "And I believe that we need to strengthen every day action by the government and by non-government organizations to help with these matters.”
 
The Yao family’s home was rebuilt using steel and cement, but they are struggling to pay off their loan.
 
Yao works eight hours away and comes home once a week. Ma Tang’s mother would like to work too, but said opportunities are few as she never finished elementary school.
 
Keenly aware of his family’s challenges, Ma Tang said that when he wants to buy something he thinks first of his young step-sister.
 
He said he loves sports and wants to play soccer in high school. Ma Tang said he hopes some day he might even get a chance to play on the national team.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More